Xiaomi True Wireless Earphones 2

Xiaomi make a lot of products, some look remarkably similar to each other. The True Wireless 2 earphones also seem to be Airdots 2 on Chinese sites, they are very similar to the Airdots 2S but the 2 have just USB-C charging while the 2S can also be wirelessly charged and have a longer battery life. The 2S variant isn't available of the Xiaomi EU site currently.

They are quite easy to pair, long pressing the button on the side of the case will put them into pairing mode, then connect to the phone and then opening the case or pressing the button will start pairing next time.

The earphones site on the ear much like the fruity company's original pods, so your mileage will vary on how well they fit or fall off. Personally in-earphones work better but lots of people are happy with this kind of design.

The earphones are Bluetooth 5.0 and support HD sound. They charge in around an hour and will play for 4 hours, though popping them into the case (which sarges them) allows up to 14 hours of play.

Each earphone has an infrared sensor and 2 microphones and tapping either earphone will answer a call (or hangup). Tapping twice on the left earphone will activate a voice assistant while tapping twice on the right will pause binaural mode and a single tap will activate single play. Removing an earphone will pause music play.

The binaural/single ear play are so it's possible to lend a colleague an earphone and they can listen to the same music you are (or listen to something else).

The dual microphones are used for noise cancellation, but as the earphones are only semi-in ear, that's mostly for speech etc and not for blocking outside noise during music play.

They are available from the Mi UK Store for £69.99 which is a bargain compared to their fruity counterparts, though Chinese (original) imports inc shipping can be had for around £30-40 (with a silicon case), the 2S are £10-20 more expensive.


Xiaomi Bluetooth Speaker 2.0

Another day, another Xiaomi product. These are mini Bluetooth cylindrical speakers (they measure about 2 inches in height - well 48mm - and 2 inches across - 52mm) and the come in black or white.

Though small, the sound produced is remarkably good for the size, obviously they cant compete with bigger speakers with large bass speakers for the depth of sound, but just to have some background music, they work well.

If they can be placed apart the sound improves dramatically if you place yourself in the central zone.

The speakers are Bluetooth 5.0 and operate in stereo, however pairing can be slightly fiddly. The centre of the base is a switch surrounded by a "multifunctional switch" so when the speaker's pointing up, pressing the speaker actually presses the central switch.

  • Turn on by long pressing the switch (for about 2 seconds) and the speaker should turn on (blue light will flash)
  • Do the same for the other speaker
  • On Both speakers double click the multifunction switch and they should go into wireless stereo pairing mode
  • The "master" speaker will flash quickly and the "slave" slowly
  • Pair with a phone, laptop, other BLE device
The speakers also have a microphone and can be used to receive a call (tap the speaker when a call comes in and it will change to mic mode, however this can be annoying as the speaker can go into this mode even when a call isn't there by accidentally tapping it.

The power output is only 3W and the speakers are charged through a microUSB port.

The speaker are available from any of the friendly Chinese import sites and are about £20 (inc shipping). They're never going to compete with the big bass boomboxes, but for something that will fit in a jacket pocket and provide some background music and last for a couple of hours, they're really not bad.


Gillette reinvents hot towel shaving

Razors come in many forms and Gillette has produced many shaving systems ending up with 5 blades and the various systems (Fusion, Proglide, Proshield etc). The handle system has been pretty static with a symbol type mount that holds the various blades.

In recent times it's even been possible to get a 3D printed handle in collaboration with Formlabs.

Now Gillette have brought back the concept of a hot shave but using modern technology with the Heated Razor. The handle has a battery and electronics in and the blades are Fusion 5, with a heating element. Turn the razor on and the element heats up and there's almost that hot towel shaving experience.

Coming out of Gillette Labs, the razor was initially launched on Indiegogo (and with the limitation of only US customers - it's useful to have friends in the US who will accept packages and forward them on, though this does mean added expense and delays especially when the prototype had to be returned and the release product shipped).

It uses the same ball/swivel mechanism as other Fusion 5 razors so the blades follow the contours of your face, but it's hot.

It does work and it feels quite pleasant. Surprisingly the razor feels a lot lighter than its size would convey, personally maybe too light.

The base is fairly heavy and the razor sits in the depression and is magnetically held there (and wirelessly charged). The power adapter fits a standard bathroom shaver outlet, but be warned, if using an electric toothbrush or other mains powered device, even if shaver outlet has two sockets it's generally only possible to plug one device in at a time (using one socket, shutters the other).

The power adapter has a long cable that terminates in a proprietary plug that fits firmly into the base (presumably designed to stop water getting in). If used outside the bathroom, a UK to US adapter will be needed to charge the razor.

Once powered on by "pressing" the power symbol, the power symbol and strip glow a warm red. Pressing thew power symbol again turns the temperature up (43 or 50 degrees C), another press turns it off.

It will function as a normal Fusion 5 razor if there's no power, but it's an expensive piece of tech to not use the heating function.

The razor is available direct from Gillette for £170 (subscription options are available for blades and will give a discount on the base too). A standard 4 pack of blades is £19.50 while an 8 pack is over double (?????) at £45.00